3 September 2018

Ghana: Ayorkor Botchwey - Ghana Eyes More Chinese Investments

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Ms Ayorkor Botchwey

Ghana expects greater collaboration with China and wants to learn from China's experience, Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey told the Global Times ahead of the upcoming Summit of the Forum on China -- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

"What we need are investments, Africa needs to go beyond aid, Africa needs to get to the point where we can stand on our feet," Ms Botchwey said, adding: "We do that through investments, where you have enough to build your infrastructure to boost our economies."

China will be hosting the Summit of the FOCAC in Beijing today and Tuesday, where leaders from more than 50 African countries will discuss the collaboration and opportunities for China and Africa.

"FOCAC offers us the opportunity to review our relationship and to see how we can further deepen the relationship," Botchwey said.

The forum is expected to pair businesses from Africa with their counterparts in China.

"The Belt and Road initiative will also be discussed. Where do we come in? How do we fit in? All these things make it a good summit," Ms Botchwey noted.

President Nana Akufo-Addo is paying a state visit to China from August 31 to September 6 while attending the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC.

Memorandums of Understanding in infrastructure, education, health and "smart cities" are expected to be signed between the two countries during his visit.

"This state visit is going to increase engagement. We hope that we can engage more on investments and the political level," Ms Botchwey said.

China and Ghana have enjoyed a great friendship for decades with frequent visits of high level officials and businesspeople to each country.

In 2016, the two countries signed a Visa Waiver Agreement for diplomatic and service passports to make it more convenient to develop bilateral ties.

Ghana enjoys valuable resources, such as manganese, bauxite, industrial diamonds, timber and rubber.

Ghana is also the world's second largest cocoa producer and exporter after Cote d'Ivoire but because of an immature infrastructure, it has not exploited its full potential.

"We have very huge infrastructure needs in Africa. We need to connect by air, sea and land and we find China dependable in helping us," Ms Botchwey said.

"We need to learn from China's experience. If you have a friend who has undergone a successful path, you will learn from the best practices.

"Africa needs friends, and China has shown her hand as a true friend of Africa," Ms Botchwey added.

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